Block 8 Double X of the 2022 QAL

This week’s block is a lot of fun. It has that square in the corner of a triangle that is fun to make and gives us a little challenge because we’re sewing the short side of a half square triangle to a square. Look at it carefully and you will do a great job. That corner square in a triangle has become a favorite of mine.

Block 8 Double X No. 2

Some of you have been worried that the QAL would end before we made all the blocks. With 13 blocks and one block a week, it looks like we will go through March and finish on April 4. And of course, if there is a great outcry for doubling up on blocks, we may accommodate that too.

There are just too many fun projects and not enough hours in the day. I have been working on a really fun quilt pattern for AccuQuilt (you will get to see it in May). But it took me double the time I usually spend, so I am behind on stitching my own QAL blocks. And I am working on some embroidery for the Farm Animals and a new set to be introduced soon, so that takes time too. Here’s a peak at the first run of one of the blocks in my Farm Animals embroidery set. That fence still needs some work, but it’s getting there. And wait until you see the pigs! I was born a country girl, so I’m loving this set.

Welcome to Block 7 of the Qube QAL

This week’s block, Flying X, is lots of fun. There are only two shapes – the square and half square triangle. You will see the half square triangles come together to form a pinwheel in the middle and it has extra propellers in the outer patches. This block is definitely in motion. And we’ve started the second half of this Quilt Along. Click the picture below to take you to the QAL page.

Block 7 Flying X
Block 7 Flying X

And don’t forget about tomorrow’s Livestreaming Launch Party of two new dies. There is still time to register. Click the link below and it will take you to the registration page. I will be on the show for a few minutes talking about one of my favorite subjects – machine embroidery. February is embroidery month at AccuQuilt.

AccuQuilt Launch Party Next Week

Next week there’s another live AccuQuilt event and I’ve been invited to participate. This is a launch party for two new AccuQuilt applique dies and I am going to talk a little bit about machine embroidery. AccuQuilt always has all of their machine embroidery designs on sale in February so this is the perfect time for this. Here’s an invite to the event. I hope you will join us.

In our Quilt Along (QAL) Block Six – the Economy Block Modified – had to be corrected and I have updated the download now. So if you downloaded it previously, discard that and download again. There was an extra step in it – Step 3. There are two ways to make that block and I combined them when it should have been one or the other. It’s fun making it both ways but making those squares in a triangle are so much fun for me personally that my brain added that in when the block was meant to be done in rows.

This has been such a busy January-February for me. There have been four projects that I have had to get done for AccuQuilt – you will see all of them in the next few months – new dies and lots of fun. And with those new dies are some applique dies and I’m working on embroidery designs for those. For all of the 2020-21 school year our family was fully committed to virtual school, so it is exciting to do some quilting and creating now.

Hope you have a peaceful day!

Block 6 – Economy Block Modified for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Block 6 is Economy Block Modified. The modification are those corner squares which link with the connector block to give that beautiful faux on point setting.  It’s a fairly simple block. I also added the instructions for the border half blocks. You will make 20 of them.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I will show you a pretty Valentine’s quilt I made about five years ago. It’s still one of my favorites. I wrote about the quilt and the bears in an AccuQuilt blog post and it has a full tutorial on how the bears are embroidered. I digitized the Candy Hearts embroidery and the quilting was hand guided on my longarm. The bears are a pattern from Dolls and Daydreams.

Candy Hearts Quilt


Tips on the Mosaic Block

Yesterday there were multiple questions about the directional nature of the parallelogram. And yes, it is directional as is the chisel. When you have a shape that is directional, the solution is to layer fabric with either right or wrong side facing up for cutting. NO FANFOLDING on directional dies unless the block has shapes that are mirror images.

My method for cutting the shapes so they match the pattern is to hold the die in my hand and compare it to the pattern. If the shape matches the pattern, cut with the right side of the fabric facing up and if the shape is a mirror image of the pattern, cut with the wrong side of the fabric facing up. With the parallelogram, be careful and remember that the long side of the parallelogram is where the half square triangles attach.

This quilt is from a blog I wrote in 2018 and has a chisel border with the blue and green chisels as mirror images.

Chisel Border with blue and green chisels as mirror images.

The same thing applies for applique dies. Almost always the applique dies are not symmetrical and must be cut in the direction that is on the pattern. And direction can be related to a lot of things. I know after I finished the Camper quilt, there were many comments that the door was on the wrong side of the camper. In our international quilting community I learned that in the US the door has to be on the outside for safety reasons. We would never want to open the door into traffic. Likewise in the UK and other countries the door has to be  on the opposite side (like my quilt) for the same reason. Here’s a picture of my ‘European’ oriented campers. I did go back and update the embroidery designs so that there are campers oriented in both directions. You will also see that in the Northwoods embroidery on this quilt that the bears and moose are directional and are stitched in opposite directions.

And a quick note to the many who have written asking where the QAL patterns are. Please see the menu at the top of this blog page. There is a menu item that says “QUBE QAL”. Click on the words QUBE QAL and it will take you to the page with all the patterns and instructions for yardage. If you bookmark that page, you can always go directly to the QAL patterns.  If you stop at the blog first, you will find helpful tips. The QAL patterns will be removed after the QAL, so go ahead and download and save them on your computer now.

QUBE QAL – Block 5 Mosaic

This week’s block is one of many named “Mosaic” and it is a play on the parallelogram. It is made up of quadrants of two parallelograms each. This has been a challenge for many quilters, particularly new quilters. The goal is to make stitching a parallelogram second nature, especially to new quilters. The nicest thing about a parallelogram is that it is simply two half square triangles combined, thus eliminating a seam. If it were split into half square triangles, it would look like this:

The parallelogram split into half square triangles

Many have been confused by the point on the parallelogram as we are used to having the dog ears cut away with the die cuts. Thus when stitching it using the half square triangle and the parallelogram cut with the Qube dies, it goes together like this:

HST stitched to parallelogram

I think you will enjoy this week’s block. It uses only two shapes – the parallelogram and the half square triangle.

Matching Points – One Method

Many of the newer quilters participating in the QUBE QAL have talked about how difficult it can be to match points. Some think this is because of pressing seams open, but it can be difficult whether you press seams open or to the side. For years, I avoided pinwheel quilt blocks for this very reason. I took some pictures yesterday of one of the ways that I match points.

Helpful tips:
+ Use a large pin for matching points. A finer pin seems to slip within the seam.
+ Use a shorter stitch on seams that have matching points.
+ Use something to anchor your pin. I use a piece from a foam mat, but a piece of styrofoam or foam core board or a sewing ham will work as well.
+ Place pins so that you do not sew over them. I know many machine salespeople will say that certain machines will not hit pins. I have had many brands of machines and no matter what, sooner or later, the needle will strike the pin. And striking the pin just right will result in  the timing to be off enough to cause skipped stitches.

Here are pictures of one of the ways I match points. It really requires getting the pin exactly at the tip of the point and when pinning through the seam, the pin can slip just a little up or down. This is why a shorter stitch length really matters.

Placement of the pin from the top.
A look at the placement of the pin from the inside.
Pinning to secure the points before removing the alignment pin. One can pull the long pin back just before sewing so that the presser foot holds the fabric in place while sewing across the top of the point. After crossing the point remove the vertical pin

Tomorrow I’ll show you another way to match points.